People Panicing Over Military Equipment Shipped By Rail

April 25th, 2014
submit to reddit Share

Imagine this:  you see a train pass you by and rather than just having nondescript boxcars or inter-modal containers, it has *gasp* military vehicles on it.  It’s as if the military sometimes has to ship vehicles from one place to another!   Well, this has been happening, in fact, it seems that this activity is increasing and the result is about what you might have expected.  Youtubers and conspiracy theorists are posting videos like crazy saying it is a sure sign of impending marshal law/genocide/mass imprisonment or something similar.


The simple answer as to why you might see tanks and large trucks on trains:  they burn a lot of fuel.  Trains tend to be more efficient as a means of transporting military hardware.

Also, treaded vehicles can’t be driven on US roadways, and even if they could, they are too slow to keep up with traffic on highways.  They therefore must be transported by flat bed trucks or railroad.  Rail is the preferred method when moving more than a small number.

There are a number of reasons why tanks and other equipment might be shipped in mass on rail:

  1. There is some kind of realignment or transition in the location of forces which results in it being sent between installations.
  2. It is required for a training exercise or some other temporary function.
  3. The equipment is new and being deployed to the location where it is to be kept.
  4. It is traveling to or from a facility where it has been refurbished or had other major maintenance preformed.
  5. It has recently returned from deployment overseas.
  6. It is on its way to deployment overseas.
  7. It is surplus equipment which is being disposed of, which could include any number of ultimate fates, including scrapping, sales to other armed forces, sales to private entities etc.
  8. It is being placed in long term storage in a location where it will be in “mothballs.”  Typically this is at one of a few large installations located in the Western US.

Transition of equipment by train is quite common and routine.  It’s also nothing new.  During the Second World War and into the height of the Cold War, military equipment trains were a very common site.  Though the practice never really went away, it is not surprising that the practice would have recently increased in frequency.

The United States has withdrawn from Iraq and is currently drawing down troop levels in Afghanistan.  The result of this is that huge numbers of military vehicles have been brought back to the US.  These are likely to be shipped on trains to the facilities where they will be stored.  It has been pointed out that many of the vehicles have been seen in green forest camouflage color schemes, leading to the claim that they must not be related to the activities in the middle-east.  However, these vehicles may simply be those which have been displaced by the return of other vehicles, which has resulted in a huge realignment of assets.

One of the biggest realignments of vehicles is occurring with the MRAP or Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. Thousands of vehicles of this type were purchased in huge numbers by the US military during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are designed to be highly survivable when attacked by IED’s, landmines, rocket propelled grenades and other such weapons. This was a direct response to the tactics used against the US by insurgents.

The vehicles worked very well and resulted in a reduction in the deaths of soldiers from ambushes on convoys. However, the military now has thousands more MRAP’s than it requires. Although several thousand will be retained, more than 13,000 are in the process of being declared surplus. Some are being given to law enforcement agencies (which does present some concerns of the militarization of police forces) while others are behind sold to allied nations. Still others are off to the scrap heap or the bone-yard.

Transporting all these vehicles to reprocessing facilities and then to their ultimate fate represents yet another huge logistical challenge.

A few other things to consider (if we are to play devils advocate):

  1. Tanks are not very good for urban warfare.  They might work for breaking down some of the initial barriers, but they are too big to go through narrow allies or streets, too heavy for many bridges and overpasses and pavement causes a great deal of wear on the treads (and the treads cause a lot of wear on the pavement).  They’re better for warfare in more open and unsettled areas.   Also, the sheer armor of tanks would not be necessary for war against the population, where they would likely only face small arms fire.
  2. Those big heavy vehicles use a huge amount of fuel, so if they are planning on actually driving them around, they would also be transporting an equal number of tanker trucks.  In modern military activities, the logistics of fuel delivery turns out to be a huge issue.  Raiding the local gas stations won’t keep them moving very long.  The fuel tanks might be large enough to ferry the vehicles off the train cars, but sustained combat means huge fuel requirements.
  3. When military vehicles need to be brought to an area for something urgent, like combat, trains are not generally the best method for transportation.  Trains are cheap, but they are slow, vulnerable, subject to delays etc.  If they wanted to quickly deploy urban combat vehicles, they would airlift them in.  That way, it could be done rapidly, before anyone even knew what was happening.  Tanks can be brought in on large cargo planes.  It’s fast and effective, but expensive.
  4. A train full of tanks is not going to do much good in declaring marshal law unless you can get the tanks off the train.  That is more involved than you might think.  It requires parking the train, separating the cars, with switching engines, rolling the tanks down ramps and removing any equipment used to secure them during transport.  For a large train, this is not a trivial task.  It requires a rail yard with the proper equipment, which exist on military bases, but not generally in random city locations.
  5. If they really wanted to hide them, it would not be that hard to put them in large boxes or just cover them with tarps to make it more discrete.  Do you really think they would be doing this in broad daylight?
  6. Many of these videos are months old.  A few are years old.  This has been going on for a while.  Granted, the government is slow, but that slow?  How long do you think they are going do be doing this evil transportation before they pounce on you?

This entry was posted on Friday, April 25th, 2014 at 11:03 am and is filed under Bad Science, Conspiracy Theories, Just LAME, Misc. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
View blog reactions



34 Responses to “People Panicing Over Military Equipment Shipped By Rail”

  1. 1
    DV82XL Says:

    From from 1974 to 2000 the West German Panzerbrigades trained at Canadian Forces Base Shilo in Manitoba every summer. Tracks for both the CNR and CPR ran through the town I lived in, and it very common to see long trains with Leopard tanks in full battle dress sporting the the cross pattée (iron cross) traveling West in the Spring and East in the Fall and it gave some of the old WWII warriors some pause when they saw it. Even though they understood what was happening the irony that this was the nightmare vision the propaganda machine had filled their teenage heads with in the Forties, and here we were welcoming them with open arms as allies.

    For me it was disturbing enough to realize that the reason they trained in Manitoba was that it was the closest NATO training facility matching the geographical conditions of the Ukraine.


    Quote Comment
  2. 2
    HenryB Says:

    The Chinese own a giant slice of our economy in the form of worthless government bonds. In the not too distant future Hilary Clinton will fly to China and hand over the deeds to California and Alaska in partial payment for this debt. The trains filled with military vehicles you mentioned are for the express purpose of ‘restoring order’ when the American Taxpayer learns the truth.


    Quote Comment
  3. 3
    drbuzz0 Says:

            HenryB said:

    The Chinese own a giant slice of our economy in the form of worthless government bonds. In the not too distant future Hilary Clinton will fly to China and hand over the deeds to California and Alaska in partial payment for this debt.

    That’s… not how it works.

    I mean, even if the leadership of the US wanted to do something like that, that’s just not how it works.

    The debt owed on government-issued bonds is not something that gets settled by transferring sovereign territory. It’s not like that.

    Paying back bonds is not a problem. The real issue with high national debt comes down to the monetary problems that can happen in the process.

    Although this is an over-simplification, in the end, if they don’t have the money to pay down the debt, they will just issue more currency and declare that it is debt that the government owes itself (to the Federal Reserve.) Of course, you run into a lot of problems with inflation and that kind of thing by doing so.

    But signing over a state to a major international bondholder… no… just does not work like that.


    Quote Comment
  4. 4
    Josh Says:

    Believe it or not, tanks are actually not very good at all for crowd control or fighting localized groups of people on foot. They are good for fighting with other tanks or taking out buildings. But they are vulnerable at close range.

    The Germans discovered this in World War II. Russians would actually jump ontop of tanks by hiding in the bushes or jumping out from a window when the tank went by. They’d shove something in the treads to immobilize it, or they would pour burning liquid into the air vents or something.

    Think about it: You can’t well shoot someone with the big tank gun if they are standing right next to the tank. Even the machine guns have limits at close range. How would you shoot someone who is climbing on the turret of your tank? You can’t.

    Tanks have huge blind spots too. But if you are in the situation where someone is on top and you know about it, your recourse will be to pop open the hatch and try to shoot them with your sidearm. That’s not a good place to be, especially if there are others with guns waiting for you to open that hatch to shoot you.

    Modern tanks might be better because the viewports and vents are better protected, but still, if you can get up close to the tank, like you’d be able to in a crowd situation in a city, you can disable it pretty easily.


    Quote Comment
  5. 5
    Matte Says:

            Josh said:

    Believe it or not, tanks are actually not very good at all for crowd control or fighting localized groups of people on foot.

    They are good for fighting with other tanks or taking out buildings. But they are vulnerable at close range.

    *Snipp!*

    That’s not a good place to be, especially if there are others with guns waiting for you to open that hatch to shoot you.

    Modern tanks might be better because the viewports and vents are better protected, but still, if you can get up close to the tank, like you’d be able to in a crowd situation in a city, you can disable it pretty easily.

    Sorry, you are so wrong I would not know where to begin. If you are going to use a tank for crowd control you can (Tiananmen square anyone?), if you are a ruthless dictatorship it is a blimming good way of controlling crowds. Standing next to a few main battle tanks will make anyone shake in their boots if you know they are not your friends. Also, if you manage to get up close to a tank, how do you propose you are going to disable it?

    If you are lucky you might do it with a few AT-4′s (like 5-10) and you can’t be too close when using those as you will kill your self. Big bag of explosives? It will be a very big bag indeed if you expect to make a dent in the armor, you reckon you could run up to a tank carrying 60-100 pounds of a satchel charge, tanks can do 80 mph by the way, plant it and get away with out getting squished by a track?

    Blimming heck, I know quite a few armies (like all of them) who would hire you on the spot to train their light infantry into being tank destroyers…


    Quote Comment
  6. 6
    DV82XL Says:

            Matte said:

    Sorry, you are so wrong I would not know where to begin.

    And you are talking through your hat.

    Tanks are best in open country and working in large formations, they are not good for urban suppression except as an intimidation. While the standard guerrilla techniques for taking out tanks used in the second world war might not work, there are other weapons that can make things very unpleasant for tank crews when they cannot maneuver at will. And no tank is moving at 80 mph inside the downtown core of any city for very far or for very long.


    Quote Comment
  7. 7
    Matte Says:

            DV82XL said:

    And you are talking through your hat.

    Tanks are best in open country and working in large formations, they are not good for urban suppression except as an intimidation. While the standard guerrilla techniques for taking out tanks used in the second world war might not work, there are other weapons that can make things very unpleasant for tank crews when they cannot maneuver at will. And no tank is moving at 80 mph inside the downtown core of any city for very far or for very long.

    Now now, we where talking crowd control. If you are going to use tanks against a reasonably armed (and trained) guerilla then you are absolutely right (as the Ruskies found out in Afghanistan, the hard way). But a M2 Bradley or similar would probably be better anyway for managing riots and lightly armed militia but I see no reason why a main battle tank could not do the same…just to a higher cost.

    As a light infantry man my self(OR6 equivalent), I would not go up against a tank or APC no matter what type of equipment I could bring to the party. In an urban environment perhaps, but I would never go anywhere near those things then either and would like at least a couple of days preparations, thank you very much.


    Quote Comment
  8. 8
    DV82XL Says:

            Matte said:

    As a light infantry man my self(OR6 equivalent), I would not go up against a tank or APC no matter what type of equipment I could bring to the party. .

    Strange that a “light infantry man” (who doesn’t know the term is ‘infantryman’) also thinks so little of the selection of shoulder-launched anti-tank ordinance available, particularly given this is a $3.2 billion USD industry world-wide and one would think that those spending that sort of money would be getting some sort of bang for their buck.

    Please don’t think the readers here are so stupid they cannot smell a BSing little fake a mile out – God knows we have had enough practice.


    Quote Comment
  9. 9
    HenryB Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    That’s… not how it works.

    I mean, even if the leadership of the US wanted to do something like that, that’s just not how it works.

    The debt owed on government-issued bonds is not something that gets settled by transferring sovereign territory. It’s not like that.

    Paying back bonds is not a problem. The real issue with high national debt comes down to the monetary problems that can happen in the process.

    Although this is an over-simplification, in the end, if they don’t have the money to pay down the debt, they will just issue more currency and declare that it is debt that the government owes itself (to the Federal Reserve.) Of course, you run into a lot of problems with inflation and that kind of thing by doing so.

    But signing over a state to a major international bondholder… no… just does not work like that.

    Your ‘insightful / insider’ comment reminds me of the jewish fable of manna falling from heaven and feeding the jews in the time of a famine.


    Quote Comment
  10. 10
    Matte Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Strange that a “light infantry man” (who doesn’t know the term is ‘infantryman’) also thinks so little of the selection of shoulder-launched anti-tank ordinance available, particularly given this is a $3.2 billion USD industry world-wide and one would think that those spending that sort of money would be getting some sort of bang for their buck.

    Please don’t think the readers here are so stupid they cannot smell a BSing little fake a mile out – God knows we have had enough practice.

    You really woke up on the wrong side of the bed today, DV8?2XL!? I have a pretty good idea of what kind of shoulder launched anti tank munitions are out there. Problem is, a half competent crew will spot me before I can use one, probably before I’m in effective range even, never mind a trained crew. In an urban environment it gets even worse as you would have to deploy close to war head arming distances for such weapons, which would be pretty suicidal – never mind being shot back at…

    As to terminology used, well I can only rely on direct translation, I have very little knowledge of American military terminology but as far as I can make out, ‘light infantry’ would be pretty apt considering what we are expected to accomplish…which is not much truth be told. Yes, this blog does attract some curious punters…I am not one of them, don’t jump to conclusions too quickly mate.


    Quote Comment
  11. 11
    DV82XL Says:

            Matte said:

    Yes, this blog does attract some curious punters…I am not one of them, don’t jump to conclusions too quickly mate.

    Rubbish, just the usual smoke coming from someone caught with his pants down that’s only digging himself in deeper every time he posts.

    You nit-wit. A few minutes with a decent search engine will tell you that tanks are considered vulnerable in urban combat by every military in the world, and the stated reason is the availability of shoulder-launched anti-tank ordinance.

    I don’t jump to conclusions, people like you jump in front of the bus.


    Quote Comment
  12. 12
    Matte Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Rubbish, just the usual smoke coming from someone caught with his pants down that’s only digging himself in deeper every time he posts.

    You nit-wit. A few minutes with a decent search engine will tell you that tanks are considered vulnerable in urban combat by every military in the world, and the stated reason is the availability of shoulder-launched anti-tank ordinance.

    I don’t jump to conclusions, people like you jump in front of the bus.

    Oh dear, you really woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!?

    I thought we where talking about crowd control? I did agree with you that tanks are vulnerable against an properly equiped oponent in the urban environment (read the number 7 post one more time)…or do I have to send you a facebook message?

    But against civilians or poorly equiped militia they could be pretty effektive, both in real sense as well as being blimming intimidating, no?


    Quote Comment
  13. 13
    DV82XL Says:

            Matte said:

    I have a pretty good idea of what kind of shoulder launched anti tank munitions are out there. Problem is, a half competent crew will spot me before I can use one, probably before I’m in effective range even, never mind a trained crew. In an urban environment it gets even worse as you would have to deploy close to war head arming distances for such weapons, which would be pretty suicidal – never mind being shot back at…

    Dodging by trying to reframe won’t work either especially when your own words are calling you a liar.


    Quote Comment
  14. 14
    Matte Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Dodging by trying to reframe won’t work either especially when your own words are calling you a liar.

    Ah, still cranky are we? Check your facebook inbox, I would not normally care but as I respect your opinion from time to time and thought I was a known “face” on this blog I will let you take the ball into your court and do what you please…you like pie I take it?


    Quote Comment
  15. 15
    DV82XL Says:

    I can only judge people by what they write and if I have judged you in error, then I apologize. English is not my first language either and as it is one that depends heavily on context, from time to time one can get get off on the wrong foot, and given that we do see our share of cranks on these pages, it is possible to get that context wrong.

    I still contend that the bulk of the both the literature and field experience out there shows that tanks are a) not the ideal armored vehicle for crowd control being over gunned for that mission if nothing else, and b) a poor weapons platform for urban operations due to a lack of mobility in constricted areas and vulnerability to squad level antitank weapons.

    So while I withdraw the accusation that you are a liar and humbly apologize for doing so, you are still in my opinion, categorically wrong.


    Quote Comment
  16. 16
    Matte Says:

    Already forgotten mate.

    a) However I would say that the experience from Bejing in 1989 would show differently. You don’t need a gun for crowd control when you can just run people over with 75+ metric tons of steel on tracks (and ignoring the international press or just running over them as well…). Ruthless granted, effective? I’d say…yes! Sure there are more effective, or cheaper, ways of doing it, but running a crowd over with a tank would send a pretty strong message to the rest of the people involved, no?

    b) In an urban setting I would never want to be in line of sight of a tank (or APC for that matter), as soon as any ordonnance I send their way exits the window I am hiding behind, the opposition will know where I am and considering any scenario I can think of, I would really not want to be in that position. Yes, tanks are not good against a well trained and properly equipped foe in an urban setting, I agree, but as I have tried to say: That is something different from crowd control.


    Quote Comment
  17. 17
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Matte said:

    Sorry, you are so wrong I would not know where to begin. If you are going to use a tank for crowd control you can (Tiananmen square anyone?), if you are a ruthless dictatorship it is a blimming good way of controlling crowds. Standing next to a few main battle tanks will make anyone shake in their boots if you know they are not your friends.

    Well, that’s just it. If tanks roll into an area, it’s a show of force. It’s a psychological thing. It’s not that they’re a practical weapon for close in fighting. It’s just that they’re big and powerful looking.

    But their weapons are useless at close range and in tight corners. Also, they have very poor close-in situational awareness. Someone could be climbing on the turret and the crew might not even know it.

    The only way a tank will stop a crowd is by blowing everyone up, from a reasonable distance away.

            Matte said:

    Also, if you manage to get up close to a tank, how do you propose you are going to disable it?

    Tanks have view ports and parascopes. Spray paint will not disable the tank entirely, but it will make it very difficult to know what’s going on.

            Matte said:

    If you are lucky you might do it with a few AT-4′s (like 5-10) and you can’t be too close when using those as you will kill your self. Big bag of explosives? It will be a very big bag indeed if you expect to make a dent in the armor, you reckon you could run up to a tank carrying 60-100 pounds of a satchel charge, tanks can do 80 mph by the way, plant it and get away with out getting squished by a track?

    Blimming heck, I know quite a few armies (like all of them) who would hire you on the spot to train their light infantry into being tank destroyers…

    No… you don’t go after tanks with explosives. Tanks are designed to withstand explosives.

    How do you disable a sophisticated battlefield communications system and make it impossible for tank commanders to coordinate with their units?

    Wire cutters: http://data4.primeportal.net/tanks/jeff_derosa/m1a1_details/images/m1a1_details_320_of_435.jpg

    This tank crew is standing on their tank because if they were safely inside it, they’d have no idea what was going on around them: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/01/30/article-1351826-0CF9B05A000005DC-651_634x370.jpg

    It could have been a real problem if the crew could not get out of the tank. Then someone from the crowd could have climbed on it and they couldn’t have stopped them. Luckily for them, nobody shoved a crow bar across the hatch:

    http://data4.primeportal.net/tanks/jeff_derosa/m1a1_details/images/m1a1_details_013_of_435.jpg

    How do you stop a tank with nothing more than dirt?

    You put enough of it here, and it will clog up the fuel filter: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/63/U.S._Marine_Corps_Lance_Cpl._Samuel_Bagwell%2C_left%2C_and_Cpl._Martin_Cahill%2C_both_tank_crewmen_with_Delta_Company%2C_1st_Tank_Battalion%2C_refuel_an_M1A1_Abrams_tank_at_Forward_Operating_Base_Shir_Ghazay%2C_Helmand_130507-M-YH552-155.jpg

    Yeah, tanks need to refuel a lot, so they make the fuel access port easy to open without special tools.

    Another issue with tanks in the field is that the treads wear and get broken. This is why tanks carry extra tread links. If there is a problem, the crew can replace the tred links with relative ease.

    But it also means you can deterred a tank with a socket wrench: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/63/U.S._Marine_Corps_Lance_Cpl._Samuel_Bagwell%2C_left%2C_and_Cpl._Martin_Cahill%2C_both_tank_crewmen_with_Delta_Company%2C_1st_Tank_Battalion%2C_refuel_an_M1A1_Abrams_tank_at_Forward_Operating_Base_Shir_Ghazay%2C_Helmand_130507-M-YH552-155.jpg

    Actually, if you look at the turret, the mechanical parts of a tank, they are all protected by plate armor. But the armor is all attached with bolts. This means that the mighty armor of a tank can be pierced with a socket set.

    This, however, is often regarded as the most vulnerable part of a tank:

    http://www.armorama.com/modules/gallery/albums/albup54/acb.jpg


    Quote Comment
  18. 18
    drbuzz0 Says:

    I will present you with a scenario, and please tell me how you would respond:

    You are the commander of an M1A2 tank that is assigned to an urban area. The locals are getting very unset and before you know it, you are surrounded by a mob. There has been a lot of concern about snipers, so your crew has remained inside the tank. But the crowd is now rushing the tank and so you need your crew to engage them directly.

    You tell your crew to start manning the machine guys, which requires that the hatches be opened. There are no machine guns or close-in weapons that operate entirely from within the tank with it closed up.

    Your crew tells you they can’t get the hatches open. Someone shoved a pipe or something across them or maybe they just got a couple of really heavy guys to stand on them. Either way, the hatches won’t open.

    You try to see what is going on, which is difficult, since you only have a few viewports and such. But they are obstructed. Someone covered them. You’re blind.

    You attempt to call on other forces with your radio. But… it does not work. Someone snapped the HF and VHF antennas off.

    There are reserve antennas that are designed to be used if the main antennas are damaged in battle. They’re retracted and protected by the armor. As soon as you deploy one, someone breaks it off.

    So now you are blind and can’t get out.

    You have one weapon that is fully operational from within the tank: the main gun.

    You can also drive it, but with absolutely no idea where you are going.


    Quote Comment
  19. 19
    DV82XL Says:

            Matte said:

    Already forgotten mate.

    Thank-you. you are most gracious.

            Matte said:

    However I would say that the experience from Bejing in 1989 would show differently. You don’t need a gun for crowd control when you can just run people over with 75+ metric tons of steel on tracks (and ignoring the international press or just running over them as well…). Ruthless granted, effective? I’d say…yes! Sure there are more effective, or cheaper, ways of doing it, but running a crowd over with a tank would send a pretty strong message to the rest of the people involved, no?

    Granted Napoleon once famously dispersed a mob by giving it “a whiff of grapeshot,” but that very instance is legendary simply because it was so excessive – artillery is not considered a good weapon for crowd control either notwithstanding.

    As for Tiananmen Square you will recall that the take away there was one poor unarmed sod bravely (if foolishly) standing down a main battle tank. If the military is, as Clausewitz asserts, an instrument of “Politik by other means” (Politik being used in it broad sense here) the use of tanks was an abject failure. At any rate the bulk of the casualties among the protesting faction was from small arms fire delivered by unmounted troops, and it was this action which broke the protest, proving that even as intimidation, tanks were ineffectual. Thier presence, and the photographs of Wang Weilin blocking a column of them became one of the iconic image of ’89 Democracy Movement and the regime paid heavily in international sanctions in no small measure because of it.

    In short while APCs and armored cars (like Ferrets) might be mission capable armored vehicles for this sort of mission, main battle tanks are far more trouble in civil incidents than they are worth.


    Quote Comment
  20. 20
    Robert Sneddon Says:

    Crowd control and urban combat is what the MRAP is for. It is armoured specifically against pre-set explosives whether military mines or ad-hoc such as an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which the Guys With Real Guns regard as cheating. The MRAP carries a number of troops who can deploy to either beat or shoot a crowd into submission, recover casualties and provide intelligence within a confused urban setting with no clear line-of-sight or communications around buildings etc. Tanks are for open-field engagements and looking stupid on camera in urban crowd control situations — see also Boris Yeltsin back in the 90s.

    The MRAPs are the direct lineal descendents of the 1970s South African Warthogs used for crowd control in Soweto and other locations where the locals had to be whipped into line when they got uppity. This is not widely acknowledged as unkind comparisons with NATO’s mission in Afghanistan might be made.


    Quote Comment
  21. 21
    DV82XL Says:

    Ironically still one of the best ways to manage/disperse a mob is with a squad mounted on horses. These animals are intimidating, give the rider a great view of the action and apparently are through a quirk of their biology, immune to both tear gas and pepper spray. Properly trained mounts and riders are hands down the ideal way to deal with crowds.


    Quote Comment
  22. 22
    BMS Says:

            Robert Sneddon said:

    Tanks are for open-field engagements and looking stupid on camera …

    See also the 1988 Dukakis campaign.


    Quote Comment
  23. 23
    drbuzz0 Says:

    Whether or not tanks are a good weapons platform to use in urban settings against large crowds is getting a bit off topic. Clearly, there are some weapons that are good at that. Tanks could be used for that, although I’d argue you’d be shoehorning them into a battle role they are not well suited for.

    But in any case, the military does have weapons that could, in principle, be used to start oppressing the population, blowing up civilians and doing all kinds of evil.

    That not withstanding, the central point is that simply seeing these vehicles being transported by rail is not an indication of impending doom. It’s a standard method of transporting these vehicles. It’s exactly what you expect to see a lot of when there is a large military realignment.

            HenryB said:

    Your ‘insightful / insider’ comment reminds me of the jewish fable of manna falling from heaven and feeding the jews in the time of a famine.

    Believe it or not, I’m not an insider.

    That’s just what is done. You’re clueless when it comes to history and to economics. When nations are faced with unmanageable debt, they resort to currency devaluation. That’s simply what is done.

    Ceeding territory to a bond holder as some kind of debt settlement is something only an ignoramus would propose. It’s moronic.

    I should also point out that using devaluation as a way of managing debt is no free ride. It’s not like you magical gifts from above that solve your problems. It has its own consequences. In its simplest form, it can be called “taxation by inflation.” It can undermine your entire economy in the most extreme cases.


    Quote Comment
  24. 24
    PsihoKekec Says:

    Tanks have their place in urban battlefield as essential infantry support, but if you use them solo, you get the disaster like the assault on Grozny.
    While with movement of the military equipment by rail it should be noted that not only is USA pulling lot of equipment from overseas deployment, it’s also in the process of disbanding 12 active duty brigades and restructuring the rest, which means moving a lot of equipment between depots and different bases.

            DV82XL said:

    Granted Napoleon once famously dispersed a mob by giving it “a whiff of grapeshot,” but that very instance is legendary simply because it was so excessive – artillery is not considered a good weapon for crowd control either notwithstanding.

    Well that crowd was armed, it was part of the royalist uprising. And considering that following governments had no problem with leveling much of Paris to quash the uprising it wasn’t considered out of order. Perceptions often depend on circumstances, for example British public wasn’t much bothered by destruction within Dublin wrought by artillery during the Easter rising, but there was outcry when news broke out about depredations of Black and Tans only a few years later.

            DV82XL said:

    Ironically still one of the best ways to manage/disperse a mob is with a squad mounted on horses.

    Only if you are dealing with ordinary protesters. There was a camel charge during anti Mubarak protest in Egypt, which managed to disperse the protester ”skirmishers” but lost momentum against the hail of stones from the main body of protestors, with several riders being pulled down and beaten to death. And then there are Maidan style protestors that would saturate the mounted police with molotov bottles.

            Robert Sneddon said:

    The MRAPs are the direct lineal descendents of the 1970s South African Warthogs used for crowd control in Soweto and other locations where the locals had to be whipped into line when they got uppity. This is not widely acknowledged as unkind comparisons with NATO’s mission in Afghanistan might be made.

    While the crowd control in townships was mission that gave Buffel most of the media exposure it was made for border operations, where guerillas were extensively using anti-tank mines and that was it’s main role. The policing role only came after the older APCs were retired.


    Quote Comment
  25. 25
    DV82XL Says:

    There is no end to the atrocities that a sufficiently morally bankrupt regime can visit on its own population given a cooperative and equally unethical military – this is hardly the point. International law and commonsense dictate that one should apply the minimum force necessary to maintain civil order and using tanks would be considered excessive in almost all situations. The fact that these outrageous abuses of force have been used, do not make them either right or justified and the fact is that acts of this sort just as often lead to a hardening of public opinion both domestically and internationally against governments that carry them out as is the case in Syria. The fact is that there is not much to choose ideologically between all of the factions in that conflict, but bombing his own cities from the air with modern attack aircraft has not endeared Bashar al Assad to the world. As Clausewitz pointed out, war doesn’t happen in isolation and all of the implications of a military action, not just the immediate result need to be considered.


    Quote Comment
  26. 26
    Sigivald Says:

    “No… you don’t go after tanks with explosives. Tanks are designed to withstand explosives.”

    Well, in Iraq a few got taken out of action by decent IEDs – the top and bottom armor aren’t nearly as serious as the front and sides.

    And of course that giant diesel engine needs air to work. Throw some T-shirts into the air intake and watch the air filter choke (parallel to your comment about the fuel filter, which might have been a typo for air, for that matter).

    Jam the treads with debris or improvised metal implements.

    You don’t need to destroy it to disable it.

    Tanks are always accompanied by infantry if any hostilities are expected, for that reason (as others have noted).

    (And that’s why Tiannenmen is not the rule, but the exception – the Chinese protestors weren’t expected to fight, and did not.

    If they’d been expecting tanks and wanted a fight rather than a peaceful protest, things would have been different. Of course, I’m sure the Party would have sent in infantry if they’d thought that was the case…)


    Quote Comment
  27. 27
    Matte Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    Well, that’s just it. If tanks roll into an area, it’s a show of force. It’s a psychological thing. It’s not that they’re a practical weapon for close in fighting. It’s just that they’re big and powerful looking.

    But their weapons are useless at close range and in tight corners. Also, they have very poor close-in situational awareness. Someone could be climbing on the turret and the crew might not even know it.

    The only way a tank will stop a crowd is by blowing everyone up, from a reasonable distance away.

    No… you don’t go after tanks with explosives. Tanks are designed to withstand explosives.

    As I mentioned, a tank does not need to use weapons against a crowd of people, just drive through it. And actually, explosives is exactly the way I would prefer to get a tank with. Lifting it 20 meters into the air, tipping it over and driving it back into the dirt (preferably with the gun barrel first) with out even having to see the spectacle is a pretty solid victory in my book. It does not require insane amounts, but placing it where it is effective is the tricky part, but I leave that as an exercise to the reader to figure out (I don’t have a clue).

    As for the scenario of a blind sided M1A2, I would not have a clue…fully functioning main gun would imply the sights are working which is more than enough to navigate the driver with (assuming they work similarly to the Leopard 2A4) but say that is disallowed I’m guessing shoving the loaders head into the breach of the main gun to navigate to friendlier neighbourhoods would be kind of a last resort. The M1A2 is not autoloading is it? Don’t they also have a machine gun mounted next to the primary gun like the Leopard or Centurion?

            DV82XL said:

    Granted Napoleon once famously dispersed a mob by giving it “a whiff of grapeshot,” but that very instance is legendary simply because it was so excessive – artillery is not considered a good weapon for crowd control either notwithstanding.

    *Sigh!* They don’t make dictators like they used to anymore, do they? I agree though, artillery is about as useful as strategic bombing I would guess.

            DV82XL said:

    As for Tiananmen Square you will recall that the take away there was one poor unarmed sod bravely (if foolishly) standing down a main battle tank. If the military is, as Clausewitz asserts, an instrument of “Politik by other means” (Politik being used in it broad sense here) the use of tanks was an abject failure. At any rate the bulk of the casualties among the protesting faction was from small arms fire delivered by unmounted troops, and it was this action which broke the protest, proving that even as intimidation, tanks were ineffectual. Thier presence, and the photographs of Wang Weilin blocking a column of them became one of the iconic image of ’89 Democracy Movement and the regime paid heavily in international sanctions in no small measure because of it.

    Well that is precisely it. I remember those images vividly, I also remember reports of the Chinese army not being as diligent in other (or same) parts of Bejing the previous day (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4313282.stm), which baffles me still. Why did they let a single man stop them when they had been shooting and running people over previously? Did they know they had rouge journalists around the place they didn’t have control over?

            DV82XL said:

    There is no end to the atrocities that a sufficiently morally bankrupt regime can visit on its own population given a cooperative and equally unethical military – this is hardly the point.

    Well that is true, just pray I will not be a dictator any time soon or a country near you…
    No, the point is will all this military hardware that is being moved about be used against the American public? Well, I’d say that would be as credible as demons or ghosts ruling the white house, but I would let Dr. Buzz0 clarify as he has better grasp of US politics than I will ever have…


    Quote Comment
  28. 28
    DV82XL Says:

            Matte said:

    Well that is true, just pray I will not be a dictator any time soon or a country near you…
    No, the point is will all this military hardware that is being moved about be used against the American public? Well, I’d say that would be as credible as demons or ghosts ruling the white house, but I would let Dr. Buzz0 clarify as he has better grasp of US politics than I will ever have…

    Unlike most posting here I have had the experience of living in a city under martial law, not once but twice in my lifetime. Montreal was subject to it during the October Crisis in 1970 and again during the Oka Crisis in 1990 and both times a potentially explosive situation was defused by cool heads and highly disciplined troops. As a result these situations were not allowed to escalate out of control. This is the way civil unrest should be handled in all cases.


    Quote Comment
  29. 29
    PsihoKekec Says:

            Matte said:

    Well that is precisely it. I remember those images vividly, I also remember reports of the Chinese army not being as diligent in other (or same) parts of Bejing the previous day (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4313282.stm), which baffles me still. Why did they let a single man stop them when they had been shooting and running people over previously? Did they know they had rouge journalists around the place they didn’t have control over?

    It’s most likely that the unit that the tanks on the picture belonged to was operating under different orders than the units that did the massacre. There were divisions from different army district operating in Peking at that time, beholden to different chains of command. The units from Peking military district were mostly removed as there was some sympathy for protestors amongst the troops.

            Matte said:

    They don’t make dictators like they used to anymore, do they? I agree though, artillery is about as useful as strategic bombing I would guess.

    Indirect fire artillery still has uses in urban combat, it’s bombardment can hinder the movement of the enemy troops and it wears them down, while really heavy artillery, like 240 mm mortars can be used to raze the strong points. Most effective would be direct fire but the self propelled howitzers have poor armor and can be taken out by LAW-72.

            Sigivald said:

    Well, in Iraq a few got taken out of action by decent IEDs – the top and bottom armor aren’t nearly as serious as the front and sides.

    IEDs weighting several hundred kg are hard to emplace. EFP mines are much more effective in this regard, but are harder to make.


    Quote Comment
  30. 30
    drbuzz0 Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Unlike most posting here I have had the experience of living in a city under martial law, not once but twice in my lifetime. Montreal was subject to it during the October Crisis in 1970 and again during the Oka Crisis in 1990 and both times a potentially explosive situation was defused by cool heads and highly disciplined troops. As a result these situations were not allowed to escalate out of control. This is the way civil unrest should be handled in all cases.

    Granted, but remember the conspiracy theorists are presuming that the government is not simply looking to cool some unrest. To them, this is all part of an Illuminati conspiracy that is directed at mass murder of the general public.


    Quote Comment
  31. 31
    DV82XL Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    To them, this is all part of an Illuminati conspiracy that is directed at mass murder of the general public.

    I know – what can you say about that sort of worldview other than to wonder just how many folks are in need of medication.


    Quote Comment
  32. 32
    Matte Says:

            PsihoKekec said:

    Indirect fire artillery still has uses in urban combat, it’s bombardment can hinder the movement of the enemy troops and it wears them down, while really heavy artillery, like 240 mm mortars can be used to raze the strong points. Most effective would be direct fire but the self propelled howitzers have poor armor and can be taken out by LAW-72.

    As I have been trying to point out several times in this thread, there are several differences between urban combat between regular troops and/or a reasonably armed guerilla and the quelling of civilian unrest.

    Yes, on the offensive I would prefer massive artillery strikes from a distance to actually sending troops into an urban environment to root out any opposition, if I could! Urban warfare is a messy business to say the least (no, I don’t have any practical experience and hope I never will but I am reasonably adept at deduction and independent thought).

    If you can get into effective range of an artillery position with a LAW-72 (or similar), well done you (or more likely a senior officer needs to be discharged…dishonorably)!


    Quote Comment
  33. 33
    AndyH Says:

    Every time I see videos like this I regret the fact that the conspiracy theory isn’t true!

    It would be nice if these idiots would be gathered somewhere away from society where the rest of mankind would not have to put up with them. Alas, freedom of speech insures we will have to put up with their idiotic bleating forever. Ironically, it is only in a free democratic country that one must put up with constant accusations of living in fascism.


    Quote Comment
  34. 34
    MichiganWarrior Says:

    Please stop the fear mongering it is not clever and is old


    Quote Comment

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *

Please copy the string s3c2c6 to the field below:

Protected by WP Anti Spam